What ever happened to …?


Well, it’s now a little over 10 years since my first post on this blog and about 5 1/2 years since my most recent. You’re probably wondering what ever happened to me and my PhD experience. Here goes!

As mentioned in my previous post, I ran for office. I lost. But I will say it was a great experience that I would encourage anyone who wants to be more involved to try. You learn quite a bit about yourself and others in a very short period of time.

But what about the PhD? How did that work out? In short, it didn’t. I “timed out” as my chair and I never came to terms on my dissertation proposal and I didn’t have enough time to complete my proposal before the clock ran out on me. So I didn’t finish. I would have stayed as long as it took to complete, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Am I glad I went through the process? You bet! I learned more about policy and analysis than I ever imagined.

You may be saying to yourself, “wait, that’s it? That’s how this ends?” Not exactly.

I decided to go to law school. Yes, that’s right, law school. If you remember one of my posts from waaaaaay back when, I quoted a professor who stated that public policy is the marriage of political science and law. It’s one of the things that attracted me to the study of public policy to begin with. I had wanted to go to law school for years, but the timing never seemed right and I started the PhD program because my employer wouldn’t have paid for a JD. So when my tenure at GMU came to an end, the opportunity presented itself. I had time left on my GI Bill (barely) and still had the passion for study.

So I took the leap. I’m on the other side of the bar now; I finished law school in 2 1/2 years and graduated magna cum laude. I passed the Virginia Bar in February and started my own practice in April. I love what I’m doing and couldn’t be happier. If you ever need your estate plan updated or if you don’t have one and you live in Virginia, visit my website at www.donshawlaw.com. Let me know you saw my PhD blog!

I’ll keep this blog going for a while. I hope it’s helped a few of you over the years – similar blogs helped me as I tried to find my way through the educational forest. Best of luck to you!

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